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Eligibility for Admission by Motion

General information regarding admission by motion to the Massachusetts bar
  • An attorney admitted to the highest judicial court of any state, district or territory of the United States may apply to the Supreme Judicial Court for admission by motion as an attorney in this Commonwealth provided that the minimum requirements set forth by Supreme Judicial Court Rule 3:01 Admission by Motion have been met.  Canadian attorneys, please see the SJC Rule 3:01 and the Rules of the Board of Bar Examiners.
  • The Board of Bar Examiners (BBE) will decline to waive the bar examination if it is not satisfied that you have been actively engaged in the practice or teaching of law to an extent and in a manner which fulfills the requirements of §6.1.2. The BBE requires proof that you have been actively engaged in the practice of law for a minimum of five of the seven years in any state, district, or territory of the United States immediately preceding the filing of the petition.  
  • Foreign educated attorneys must obtain a determination of their educational sufficiency, pursuant to Supreme Judicial Court Rule 3:01 §6.2, and Board of Bar Examiners Rule VI, prior to filing a petition for Admission by Motion.
  • The fees associated with filing a petition for admission are non-refundable

Military Spouses Seeking Admission by Motion

The BBE welcomes inquiries and petitions for Admission by Motion from attorney spouses of service members in the United States Uniformed Services.  The BBE understands the unique circumstances faced by those military spouse attorneys who must move frequently as a result of the needs of the Uniformed Services.   Where the needs of the Service result in the necessary relocation of a military spouse attorney to Massachusetts, the BBE is committed to working with the petitioner to accommodate their unique circumstances relative to qualifications and acquirements for admission, and to expedite the bar application process to the extent appropriate.

Military spouse attorneys are encouraged to contact Board of Bar Examiners at (617) 482-4466 or email the BBE info@bbe.state.ma.us, for more information regarding this process.

Additional Resources

Foreign Educated Attorneys Seeking Admission by Motion requirement

Graduates of law schools in foreign countries may be permitted petition for admission by motion upon obtaining a prior determination of their education sufficiency from the BBE. It is important to note that the process to determine eligibility to petition for admission will take a minimum of four (4) months from the date on which the documentation is received by the .

Foreign educated attorneys who are currently licensed/eligible to practice law in the foreign jurisdiction will be eligible to apply for admission to the Massachusetts bar upon receiving a determination of educational sufficiency from the BBE as provided for by the BBE Rule VI. Foreign Law School Graduates .  In addition to the educational sufficiency requirement, foreign educated attorneys must meet all requirements for admission by motion.


Graduates of foreign law schools seeking an advanced determination of their educational sufficiency to petition for admission by motion to the Massachusetts bar, must submit all documentation required by Rule VI.2 to:

Executive Director

Board of Bar Examiners

One Pemberton Square, Suite 5-140

Boston, MA 02108

Within four months of receipt of complete documentation, the BBE will notify the foreign law school graduate, in writing, of whether he or she has been determined to have met the educational sufficiency requirements to petition for admission by motion and, if not, what additional steps must be taken in order to obtain a future determination of educational sufficiency.  It is strongly recommended that foreign educated attorneys carefully review all of BBE Rule VI to familiarize themselves with the requirements for admission prior to submitting any documentation to the BBE.

Important information to note:

  • The review and evaluation of educational sufficiency is initiated only after all documentation required by BBE Rule VI.2 is received.  
  • The official transcript from the foreign school can be open and attached to the documentation.
  • Any documentation produced by the school that describes the content and subject matter covered by each course, such as a course catalogue, syllabus, or other description produced by the school, is acceptable.
  • As stated in Rule VI. Foreign Law School Graduates, documentation will not be returned to the foreign educated attorney.


Additional Resources

Contact for Eligibility for Admission by Motion


Maura S. Doyle, Clerk
John Adams Courthouse, 1st Floor, One Pemberton Square, Suite 1300, Boston, MA 02108-1707

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